The Fifth Witness Reviews

“Crime-fiction megastar Connelly can always be counted on to try something a little different. In The Reversal (2010), his last Mickey Haller novel, starring the L.A. lawyer who prefers to work out of his Lincoln Town Car, Connelly offered a tour de force of plotting on multiple levels. Here, he narrows the focus considerably, concentrating almost exclusively on what happens inside the courtroom but bringing to the traditional give-and-take of prosecutor, defender, judge, and jury an altogether more complex commingling of personality and legal strategy than is typically on view in legal thrillers. He accomplishes this with a particularly rich first-person narration in which Haller takes us through the courtroom drama as it happens, noting his blunders and praising himself for quick-thinking improvisations. It doesn’t hurt, either, that the plot is meaty: a woman whom Haller was representing in a suit against the bank attempting to foreclose on her mortgage is accused of killing the bank official in charge of foreclosures. Combining ripped-from-the-headlines information on the mortgage crisis with a cast of characters that defies stereotypes at every turn of the plot, Connelly shows once again that he will never simply ride the wave of past success. And, neither, apparently, will Mickey Haller, as he reveals a shocking change of direction in the novel’s final pages.”
— Bill Ott, Booklist * Starred Review

“Connelly’s compelling fourth legal thriller featuring Mickey Haller finds the maverick L.A. lawyer who uses his Lincoln town car as an office specializing in “foreclosure defense.” Haller’s first foreclosure client, Lisa Trammel, is fighting hard to keep her home, maybe too hard. The bank has gotten a restraining order to stop Trammel’s protests, and she becomes the prime suspect when Mitchell Bondurant, a mortgage banker, is killed with a hammer in his office parking lot. A ton of evidence points to Trammel, but Haller crafts an impressive defense that includes “the fifth witness” of the title. Connelly has a sure command of the legal and procedural details of criminal court, and even manages to make the arcane, shady world of foreclosure interesting. While the prose may lack some of the poetic nuance of his early novels, the plot is worthy of a master storyteller. The film of The Lincoln Lawyer, the first Mickey Haller novel, releases in March.”
— Publishers Weekly, * Starred Review

In this up-to-the-minute thriller, criminal defense attorney Haller has taken on foreclosure work, which creates complications: one of his clients is accused of killing the banker threatening to foreclose on her home. Buy multiples.”
— Library Journal

“About half the novel deals with the murder trial itself, and it’s here that Connelly excels, easily surpassing even John Grisham in the building of courtroom suspense. It’s clear that Connelly just loves this stuff. …The idea that Connelly is very good comes as no surprise, but the consistency of his excellence is remarkable, given that he’s publishing two books a year right now. I picked up “The Fifth Witness” one night last week, intending just to get a feel for the story, and found I couldn’t put it down until I’d finished it more than five hours later.”
— Richard Rayner, Los Angeles Times

“Mickey Haller’s legal business has been hit hard by the recession, but he’s decided to turn lemons into lemonade by coming to the aid of foreclosure victims. One of his very first cases backfires, however, when soon-to-be disposed teacher Lisa Trammel emerges as the foremost suspect in a homicide case. Applying all his legal and investigatory skills, Haller turns a prosecution slam-dunk into something far more interesting. Keyed with suspense and last minute surprises, Michael Connelly’s latest courtroom procedural will keep you reading and guessing to the end. Editor’s recommendation.”
— Barnes & Noble Editorial Review

“Just in time for his movie debut this spring, Connelly brings back the Lincoln Lawyer for a satisfying case that pits him against a real-estate foreclosure mill. …the courtroom scenes—thrust, parry, struggle for every possible advantage—are grueling enough for the most exacting connoisseur of legal intrigue.”
— Kirkus Reviews

“Connelly is himself a master manipulator, and there’s always something deadly serious behind his entertaining courtroom high jinks. Here he describes the background of the real estate collapse, exposing the venality involved in mortgage foreclosures. And just to keep it light, he throws in a few inside jokes about Hollywood hustlers and the things they’ll do to get their hands on a hot property.”
— Marilyn Stasio, New York Times

“This is Connelly at his thought-provoking best.”
— People Magazine, 4 stars

The Fifth Witness deftly shows us the workings of a justice system fraught with peril inside and outside the courtroom. It’s a battlefield, so Haller can be excused for taking a Donald Rumsfeldian view of his job: “There are three things for the lawyer to always consider,” he reflects. “The knowns, the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns.” By the time this twist-filled legal ride is done, the parties involved have confronted the known and unknown alike.”
— Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal

“I’ve said many times that Connelly continues to show why he is one of the best – and most consistent – living crime writers. “The Fifth Witness” adds evidence to the case.”
— Oline Cogdill, Sun-Sentinel

“Michael Connelly sure can write em. His latest, The Fifth Witness, is a court procedural. This means there are many chapters where an attorney is asking a witness questions. Most of the time this makes for a tedious read and a boring thriller. Michael Connelly creates a mystery as satisfying as the other Mickey Haller and Bosch mystery novels. …The Fifth Witness is yet another Connelly page-turner.”
— Richard Lanoie, The Mystery Site

“The book is a legal thriller to end all legal thrillers. I didn’t see the twists and turns coming at me, and was hard pressed to put the book down to sleep. I didn’t want it to end, a sure sign of a winning book.”
— Maggie Mason, Deadly Pleasures Magazine

“When you’re at the top of your game, millions of readers await your next book with anticipation, reviewers are ready to scratch at your reputation if you so much as offer a less than excellent story. As the saying goes “It’s tougher to stay at the top than it is to reach it”. With The Fifth Witness, Connelly need not worry; he can keep his throne for a while longer; and his reputation very much intact too. This is one of his most complete books in every aspect; his prose is meticulous, as sharp as a scalpel, and he keeps every thread of the story tightly knit together – like expertly done stitches. As usual for Connelly, no detail is unnecessary; he’s not there to try to fool the reader, he just wants to tell a story. One that will grip the reader right from the start, when we find Mickey Haller in his ‘office’ (his bulletproof Lincoln Town Car) up until the finale, when some earlier details end up revealing the truth, the whole truth, and a bit more than that for the defense lawyer.”
— Jacques Filippi, House of Crime and Mystery

I can’t remember the last time I breezed through a weighty hardback with such speed. Nor can I remember when the content of such a tome felt so light and pleasing. …The author, a master of pace, carefully places each new nugget of information as it pops into view on the horizon. It’s this trickle of facts that keeps the pages turning and with every new revelation it becomes harder and harder to stop reading. Do yourself a favour set aside a good chunk of time and digest the whole thing in one go. Then at least you won’t suffer the craving for more.”
— John Massey,

“Plot and judicial gymnastics are the focus here, making “The Fifth Witness” an easy, amiable read with a tang of venom for zest.”
— Katherine Dunn, Oregonian

“Mickey Haller is an irresistible character: smart, cynical, funny and always with a trick up his sleeve. Connelly, a former crime reporter, knows how to keep a story moving and give us characters to love and hate.”
— Salem Macknee, Charlotte Observer

“Readers who love a good down-and-dirty courtroom battle will love this superb new novel featuring Mickey Haller.”
— Margaret Cannon, Globe and Mail

“I just couldn’t put it down as the twists kept coming right to the end. His best – until the next one!”
— Alex Gordon, Peterborough Evening Telegraph (UK)

“The greatest living American crime writer has landed another telling blow to his nearest rivals. The Fifth Witness is criminal defence attorney Mickey Haller’s strongest and most pertinent performance yet.”
— The Mirror (UK)

“With The Fifth Witness, Connelly delivers his best Lincoln Lawyer to date, dissecting Mickey Haller’s emotions between family and overzealous courtroom antics. The verdict: a sucker punch finale with an interesting future for our anti-hero.”
— JC Patterson, Rankin Ledger

“Connelly is a master at knowing when to shift focus. He knows when to put his foot on the gas and when to take it off. Once Connelly has you on board, turning the pages, you won’t want to climb off. As popular entertainment goes, it doesn’t get much better than this.”
— Chuck Leddy, Boston Globe

The Fifth Witness by best-selling author Michael Connelly is another masterpiece by one of America’s best crime fiction novelists.”
— Ray Walsh, Lansing State Journal

“Superb storytelling, corkscrew twists and a killer finale. Rush out and buy it – you won’t regret it for a moment.”
— Geoffrey Wansell, Daily Mail UK

“As ever, Connelly makes Mickey the perfect conduit through the hazardous jungles of LA courtrooms and low-rent neighbourhoods. But the social underpinnings here are what really engage the author: The Fifth Witness will not be comfortable reading for bankers, but neither is it indulgent towards those who feel that the world owes them a house and a living. Mickey may champion the latter, but he knows that most of his clients will end up on the scrapheap. This is as diverting an outing for Connelly’s hero as we have been granted.”
— Barry Forshaw, The Indepedent UK

“Connelly demonstrates his versatility here. His latest legal thriller, replete with authentic characters and compelling dialogue, provides a fascinating glimpse of our justice system in action that’s sure to entertain.”
— Robert Wade, San Diego Union-Tribune